32 Barnard Castle – Eggleston

Barnard Castle to Eggleston 6.7 miles (10.7Km.)

Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle

Yet another false start, town and village starts can so often be a problem. Never mind I was certainly on track after Percy Beck. I’d pulled this section in as a stand alone because adding it to the next section would make for a long day. Like the Shawl at Leyburn this starts as a very well walked path. Seats donated by Glaxo Wellcome back in 1996, a splendid bridge made with a curved solid plank of wood and old stone steps to assist up a steep section of bank add to the pleasure. Not so fierce here, the river offers ever changing sections of calm and rapid activity.

Bridge of curved solid planks

Bridge of curved solid planks

After an agreeable two miles the path makes a steep climb and we pass through fields of grass, dry stone walls and sheep. Approaching Cotherstone it’s back down to river level but on the way excellent views of the confluence of the Balder and Tees. Here another impressive footbridge, not old but sturdy stone columns support two spans of lattice steel, a miniature rail bridge built just for those on foot. The bridge would give access to the village but I need to ‘think carefully’ the guide tells me and the sign post points into a dense bank of gorse. Look for the path on the ground in popular spots like this is my motto, locals often stray from the definitive line, problem solved.

Old stone steps

Old stone steps

The remainder of the walk is pleasant and follows the Teesdale Way to East Barnley where the GEW takes the direct route into Eggleston avoiding a section of road but also a view of Eggleston Bridge. I once caught a bus from Darlington, when I alighted at Barnard Castle I looked around for a small bus for the onward journey to Middleton in Teesdale, disregarding the double decker and nearly missing it. The bridge at Eggleston is narrow and traffic is controlled by lights. The view from the front seat of the top deck can only be compared with a ride at Alton Towers as the bridge disappears and the bus appears to be flying across the Tees.

Cotherstone another impressive footbridge

Cotherstone another impressive footbridge

Along the path taken by the GEW there were hundreds of feathery black insects, they were all over a gate I passed through then I noticed they were clustered on tufts of grass creating the effect of black flowers on the tips of the taller stems, another first that would be missed by those not viewing the countryside on foot.

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Great English Walk map of section 32

Great English Walk map of section 32

 

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 32

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 32

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